If the Scriptures are the truest revelation of God, where do they derive their authority to be considered God’s self-revelation? For if man is to believe that these are words from God, they must regard the Scriptures as having divine origin. The Scriptures do not have their origin in the church — the church recognizes, receives and gives its seal of approval to the Scriptures — but the church did not conceive of the Scriptures so as to render it the highest authority over Scripture. As Luther wrote in his Lectures on the Psalms, “The Scripture is the womb from which are born the divine truth and the church.” The Scriptures preceded the church.

In countering claims that Augustine believed that the church has higher authority than the Scriptures and renders final judgment on the Scriptures, he writes “those who have not yet been illumined by the Spirit of God are rendered teachable by reverence for the church, so that they may persevere in learning faith in Christ from the gospel. Thus, the authority of the church is an introduction through which we are prepared for faith in the gospel.” (pg. 77)

People look to the church as an authority on the Scriptures and rightly so, and by doing so, that can be a precursor to gospel transformation. But the only way we can fully accept the revelation of Scripture and doctrine is when we are fully persuaded, beyond doubt, that God is its Author. “If we turn pure eyes and upright senses toward it, the majesty of God will immediately come to view, subdue our bold rejection, and compel us to obey.” (pg 79) And that only happens through the witness of the Holy Spirit. “The testimony of the Spirit is more excellent than all reason,” Calvin wrote. (pg. 79)

Lord, I recognize that You are the Author of your Word and the only true faith I possess is that which Your Spirit has sealed upon my heart. Grant unto me, by Your Spirit, the ability to comprehend the mysteries of God in the Scriptures, and let that knowledge draw and inflame me, towards obedience and deeper devotion.